Interview Myths

Interview preparation makes no difference. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. An interviewer can always tell if you haven’t prepared and that is taken as an indication of how serious you are about the job. It also limits your ability to answer well and to ask relevant questions.

Interview technique comes naturally. This is ok if you are good at being interviewed but if you aren’t in that happy position, then it’s a myth that all will be ok. Yes, be yourself, but also make the effort to push yourself outside your comfort zone a bit and practise at making a good impression and presenting your skills and experience to the best of your ability.

It’s ok to embellish the truth to gain an advantage. You think so? There are two sides to this myth. The first is that if you lie you will get caught out at some stage whether at reference taking stage or when you start work. If it’s the latter, then you may face disciplinary action or even dismissal. The second issue is that people who embellish their achievements at interview forget that interviewers have probably met and interviewed many of their colleagues and have a fair idea of who is responsible for what in those organisations. So it’s a very short-sighted applicant who tries to pull the wool over the eyes of an interviewer, particularly if it’s with a specialist recruiter who knows the market well.

You don’t know what an interviewer is going to ask so you may as well wing it. Ok, you may not know the exact questions but you know what the interviewer is trying to assess relative to the job in question. So put your thinking cap on. What is the job all about, is there a position description and, crucially, what is written in the job ad? The answers to these will give you an idea of the direction the interviewer will take. For example, if the job is about business partnering then you can reasonably expect to be asked about your ability to build relationships, to influence and work collaboratively.

The interviewer will always be well prepared. In most cases this is true but sadly we hear of instances where this is not the case. It’s disappointing but you need to prepare for it. If you don’t feel the interviewer is asking the right questions or listening in full to your answers make sure you know the key messages you need to get over and work those into the conversation.

Video and Webcam interviews are casual and don’t have the same weight as meeting in person. Wrong. They are becoming more and more prevalent and not only are they not casual but they require additional thought and preparation. How you manage a video call will demonstrate how you would deal with a video conference when in the job so it’s important to know what you’re doing.

The interviewer will want to hear everything I have to say in detail. Some detail may be appropriate but it’s not a good idea to assume an interviewer either wants everything in detail or has the time to listen to it. Watch their body language for clues, if in doubt ask if they’d like more/less detail. Don’t prattle on.

No one minds what I wear. Actually, in most cases they do. How you dress at interview is all about what is appropriate. You have to use your judgement to decide that, you may even have to listen to advice. How you manage and deal with that is just another way an interviewer can assess your suitability for a role.

A professionally produced resume will get me a job. It might help you get an interview if it’s well constructed but it won’t get you the job. You have to perform well at interview. Your resume is simply a marketing tool.

Resumes aren’t worth getting worked up about, you either get the interview or you don’t. Think of your resume as a shop window. Dusty and old-fashioned will not entice you into that store. It’s the same with a resume, it’s your shop window. Make sure it’s up to date, well-balanced, easy to read and worth looking at.